A mathematical model for the growth of the abdominal aortic aneurysm
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- Watton, P.N., Hill, N.A. & Heil, M. Biomech Model Mechanobiol (2004) 3: 98. doi:10.1007/s10237-004-0052-9
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We present the first mathematical model to account for the evolution of the abdominal aortic aneurysm. The artery is modelled as a two-layered, cylindrical membrane using nonlinear elasticity and a physiologically realistic constitutive model. It is subject to a constant systolic pressure and a physiological axial prestretch. The development of the aneurysm is assumed to be a consequence of the remodelling of its material constituents. Microstructural ‘recruitment’ and fibre density variables for the collagen are introduced into the strain energy density functions. This enables the remodelling of collagen to be addressed as the aneurysm enlarges. An axisymmetric aneurysm, with axisymmetric degradation of elastin and linear differential equations for the remodelling of the fibre variables, is simulated numerically. Using physiologically determined parameters to model the abdominal aorta and realistic remodelling rates for its constituents, the predicted dilations of the aneurysm are consistent with those observed in vivo. An asymmetric aneurysm with spinal contact is also modelled, and the stress distributions are consistent with previous studies.